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The 15 Most Overhyped Athletes of All Time

Sports
The 15 Most Overhyped Athletes of All Time

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports Images

Overhyping players happens every day. Turn on the television and you will see some “expert” saying how great a player was or how great he is going to be in the future. A lot of times those experts blow reality way out of proportion. Some of the most well thought of players in history really were not actually as good as everyone makes them out to be.

It’s hard to argue the players we think of as some of the best of all time were not memorable. However, in a lot of cases they were more memorable for something other than the way they played. If they were memorable for the way they played, then there was definitely a flaw in their game that drove fans crazy. These are the players we sit around and argue about over at the office water cooler on a daily basis.

No one can take away the fact that these overhyped and overrated played were, and in some cases still are, fantastic athletes. They themselves never did anything to make them overhyped. That was the media’s fault. However, the fact remains that the public and the media need to tone down how they talk about certain athletes because at the end of the day, they are not as great as we hyped them up to be.

15. Shaquille O’Neal

ONEAL HOWARD BOOTH

Shaquille O’Neal is one of the all-time great NBA superstars. He was drafted first overall in 1992 by the Orlando Magic. His size made him the prized possession of every team he played for. He was a fifteen-time All Star and a three-time NBA champion. He was also the 1992 Rookie of the Year and the 1999 MVP. That is great and all, but he just could not shoot. For a person with all his accolades, one would think he would be able to shoot a free throw. Throughout his career, he was only fifty percent at the foul line. Even worse, his career three-point average was 0.045 percent. When the discussion of the greatest center to ever play the game comes up, take those two stats into consideration before blurting out O’Neal. Size alone does not make a great basketball player.

14. Alex Rodriguez

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports Images

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports Images

Without talking about any steroid allegations, one can still make a case Alex Rodriguez is highly overrated. The way to do this is to be fair to all Major League Baseball players of the steroid era and throw out the fact that steroids were ever involved, and then take into consideration how much money A-Rod makes. Rodriguez has made more money than anyone in the game’s history, but was he ever the best player in the league? One would think he should be, but throughout his entire career there has always been someone better than him. In fact, other than his short time with the Texas Rangers, one could argue he may not have even been the best player one his team. In Seattle, he played second fiddle to Ken Griffey Jr. Even now with the Yankees, it’s hard to say he is the best. The Yankees moved him from shortstop to third base because Derek Jeter was the better defensive shortstop. If A-Rod truly were the best player on the team, he would have been playing short in pin stripes.

13. David Beckham

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports Images

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports Images

By the end of David Beckham’s career, he was more of a celebrity than a soccer player. Beckham was the first player to ever win a championship with four different countries. However, the person many considered the best soccer player in the world never actually won the FIFA World Player of the Year Award. Whenever somebody is said to be the best in a conversation, but does not have an award from their professional organization, that is a quick indicator that they are overrated. By the time he was playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy, it was obvious he was more concerned about promoting himself than promoting his team. He would leave the Galaxy at any point to go play in Europe. By marrying Victoria Beckham (or Posh Spice, as she is formally known) Beckham started a highly successful modeling career. Suddenly soccer did not seem like the most important thing in his life.

12. Doug Flutie

FLUTIE FAURIA WATSON NEAL

People who still talk about Doug Flutie fall into one of two camps. The first is the group of who remember the college star and feels he actually was a great player. The second group remembers the guy who could not cut it in the NFL and had to go to Canada to have a football career. If you cannot make it as a football player in the NFL, you are not a great player. A Heisman Trophy does not change this.

11. Phil Rizzuto

Via espn.go.com

Via espn.go.com

Phil Rizzuto is one of the legendary baseball names. Why is he, though? First off, he was a Yankee. Secondly, he came up big in the World Series and he played in a lot of World Series games. However, during the season he was mediocre other than his 1950 MVP season. Other than that season Rizzuto batted a very average 0.273 over his career. It took forty years before he was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee. Their reason for letting him in probably had a lot to do with the fact he was a Yankee in the 1940s and 1950s.

10. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Images

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Images

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the biggest name in automotive racing today. That probably has a lot to do with the fact that his father is considered the greatest driver to ever grace the track. Junior made a splash early on in his career by placing first in the Nationwide Series in 1998 and 1999. However, since then he has not done too much. In 2013 he was ranked 103rd in the Nationwide standings. The biggest reason as to why he is overrated has to do with his popularity. Earnhardt Jr. has won the Sprint Cup Most Popular Driver Award a record 11 times.

9. Darryl Strawberry

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports Images

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports Images

Darryl Strawberry is just one of those names in Major League Baseball that everyone knows, but why? Strawberry was around for a long time. He played 17 years. During his career, he went to eight All-Star Games and won four World Series. When you actually break down his career, you realize that he may have stuck around too long. Though he was a high caliber player early on, by the end of his career he was nothing more than a threatening name. Strawberry only managed to play in over 100 games in a season once from 1992 to 1999. Even his number of World Series rings is a bit deceiving. He was only a major contributor to one of those teams; when he won it with the Mets. However, when he was a member of the Yankees team that won it three straight years, he was not on the field very much.

8. Ickey Woods

Ickey Woods

Via galleryhip.com

Ickey Woods is one of those players who has a definite spot in the history of the NFL. The “Ickey Shuffle” is a legendary touchdown dance. Woods looked like he was going to be shuffling in the end zone for years to come. Unfortunately, early knee injuries destroyed his career and he was forced to retire in 1991 after just three seasons. The good news is Ickey is shuffling again on TV in auto insurance commercials.

7. Terry Bradshaw

Terry Bradshaw 1979

The funny, happy guy we see every Sunday morning during the NFL season, Terry Bradshaw, may not have actually been as great as everyone has built him up to be. Yes, he does have four Super Bowl rings with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s. Nobody is taking that away from him. However, if you examine Bradshaw’s numbers you begin to realize that the Steelers of the seventies were a complete team. If the defense did poorly, the offense led by running back Franco Harris would pick up the slack. Very rarely did that defense perform poorly. Many times that defense would have to pick up the slack for Bradshaw who threw 210 interceptions during his career. Those 210 picks do not look good next to his mediocre 212 touchdown passes. Consider this: Bradshaw was the MVP of Super Bowl XIV despite throwing more interceptions than touchdowns… it would be hard to argue that his defense and stellar running back did not make him look really good when he was not his best a couple times.

6. Anna Kournikova

Via bigstock images

Via bigstock images

Seeing as how popular she is, one would think she was the greatest tennis player ever. A lot of people still think she plays tennis, which she does not. During her short career Kournikova never managed to win a singles championship. However, she was still the most popular key word on Google image searches. This is because you need to scroll a long way down the page to find a picture of her actually playing tennis.

5. Lynn Swann

Lynn Swann

Hall of Fame wide receiver Lynn Swann also won four Super Bowl rings in the 1970s with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was a member of legendary 1974 Steelers’ draft class that saw four players join the Hall of Fame. Swann was the first one selected out of that class. During his career, Swann averaged 42 receptions, 683 yards, and six touchdowns per season. Those are not Hall of Fame numbers.

4. Danica Patrick

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Images

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Images

Danica Patrick’s claim to fame is that she broke the gender barrier in NASCAR. Prior to joining NASCAR she was a five-time Indy car racing champion. She has not had much success since stepping up to NASCAR. Her best single race finish has been fifth place. Her best single season ranking has been 27th. Despite this, Patrick was still voted NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver for 2012.

3. Bo Jackson

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports Images

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports Images

Without a doubt, Bo Jackson was one heck of an athlete. He was able to play professionally in both baseball and football. He is the only athlete in history to make an All-Star team in two different leagues. The 1985 Heisman Trophy winner opted to play baseball out of college rather than play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He then joined the National Football League the following season as a member of the Oakland Raiders. His football career was cut short due to injury and he finished out his sporting career as a baseball player. He is overrated simply because ESPN named him “The Greatest Athlete of All Time.” That is a big overstatement. There are tons of great athletes who hold multiple world records and are enshrined in the halls of fame for their respective sports. To say a guy who only played professional sports for eight years is the greatest ever is a bit of a reach.

2. Tim Tebow

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports Images

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports Images

The only thing that needs to be said about Tim Tebow is “Tebowmania.” The most decorated player in the history of college football came into the NFL and it started a wave of player worship that had never been seen in sports. He played one season with the Denver Broncos. They made the playoffs due to their number one ranked defense. The next year Tebow was traded to the Jets who made him Mark Sanchez’s backup. Then they released him. The Patriots picked him up but cut him before the start of the season. Now Tebow is waiting for another call from a team that wants him to play quarterback. His fans are still arguing he could be the greatest player in the history of the NFL.

1. Joe Namath

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Images

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Images

Joe Namath is a sports legend. He is the Hall of Fame Jets quarterback that guaranteed victory in Super Bowl III. He backed up his guarantee and that game became responsible for the NFL-AFL merge. What did he do other than that to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame? During his 12-year career, Namath only appeared in one Pro Bowl. He threw more interceptions than touchdowns: 173 TDs to 220 INTs. He only had a career quarterback rating of 65.5 out of 158.1 and only completed fifty percent of his passes. Other than being the NFL’s first celebrity there really is not a good reason for him to be considered a Hall of Famer.

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